Russia-headquartered airline Volga-Dnepr confirmed that it would cease to provide heavy lift airfreight services under the Strategic Airlift Interim Solution (SALIS) programme.
Since 2006, Volga-Dnepr has shared the SALIS contract with Antonov Airlines. This contract relates to the provision of airfreight capacity for EU and NATO countries. The Volga-Dnepr Group said that is has been gradually reducing its involvement in the military logistics sector.
A statement from Volga-Dnepr Group said: "In line with our corporate strategy, Volga-Dnepr Group is focused on the growth of its business in the civil commercial sector and continuing to extend the scope of its niche products.
"We have been gradually withdrawing from the military logistics transportation market in due compliance with our previous commitments.
"The group will not participate in the tender process initiated by NATO in its existing configuration, but we are open to continued cooperation with all organisations engaged in the transportation of humanitarian cargoes, and for future participation in disaster and emergency recovery programmes."
Volga-Dnepr has had one AN-124-100 freighter stationed at Leipzig/Halle airport since 2006, as part of the SALIS contract. Antonov SALIS, a subsidiary of Antonov Group, also positions one of its AN-124s at the gateway.
HLPFI reported on April 26 that Antonov Company would provide additional support to the SALIS programme. According to Antonov, it will provide "the necessary number of AN-124-100 aircraft" to support strategic air transportations in the interest of NATO and EU nations.